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Avid knitter donates mittens to Hatfield Elementary School

Elinor Bell's handmade mittens and hats were delivered to Hatfield Elementary School last week. 
PHOTO COURTESY OF HATFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Elinor Bell's handmade mittens and hats were delivered to Hatfield Elementary School last week. PHOTO COURTESY OF HATFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Purchase photo reprints »

— Every parent knows how easy it is for youngsters to lose things. You may send them off to school properly attired for winter, yet somehow they return home missing their hat, a glove or a pair of mittens. To address this predicament, one Hatfield resident has been hard at work supplying extra mittens and hats to the Hatfield Elementary School.

For the last 16 years, Elinor Bell, 76, has been knitting colorful mittens and hats for the school’s students who forget, lose, or simply do not have them.

“I started doing this when my grandson, Brian, went to school wearing his mittens, but then came home with a note that said “you have to send this child to school with mittens,” said Bell, who lives on Prospect St.

Bell’s grandson said that another child had picked up his mittens, leaving him with none.

“I figured if it is a problem for him today, I bet other children might have the same problem,” she said.

So Bell, a self-taught knitter, began to crank out hats and mittens and deliver them to the school in the fall.

“I used to do this for just the kindergarten and first grade. Now it takes me all year to make six pairs of mittens, and two hats with matching mittens for each class,” she said.

Principal Jennifer Chapin said the entire school looks forward to Bell’s annual delivery.

“It’s this wonderful thing that she does every year and the kids love it,” Chapin said.

Chapin said some students have been known to leave their own gloves or mittens in their locker, just so they can wear a pair made by Bell.

“A lot of kids forget or lose their mittens and, if they don’t have any, they can’t go out for recess. So we all really appreciate this very nice thing that she does,” Chapin said.

Bell, who moved to Hatfield in 1959, describes herself as a “newcomer” to town. She has two granddaughters currently at Hatfield Elementary and a third who will soon be joining the ranks of students at the school.

“Whether they just use them while they are at school because they forgot theirs, or whether they are indigent and really need a pair to take home and keep, it’s up to them,” Bell said.

While she is quick to say that her knitting repertoire does not really include larger items like sweaters, Bell says that mittens and hats are her specialty.

For Bell this hobby, which turned into a labor of love, is something that she enjoys and takes pride in.

“It keeps me busy and gives me something to do while I watch T.V.,” Bell said. I plan on continuing to do this for as long as I am able.”

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